Case study – Assessing a child who is having difficulty retaining and processing information and completing age-appropriate tasks

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WPPSI-IV packshot

A child of seven years was referred due to difficulty retaining information in the classroom and concerns over general learning ability. The referral was from a school Special Educational Needs Co-ordinator (SENCO) and the outcome was around considering the nature of Tim’s (not his real name) difficulties and appropriate provision to support these needs further.

Classroom observation

As well as the information gained from the referral, I arranged a classroom observation to consider how the difficulties highlighted in the referral manifested in Tim’s behaviour within the classroom.  Phillip was observed during a maths lesson and an art lesson and during both he was observed to be taking much longer than his peers in retaining information, processing verbal information and completing age-appropriate tasks. After the observation, I checked out my observations with his class teacher.


As a consequence of the information gathered through consultation and observation, I decided to complete the core subtests of the Wechsler Pre-School and Primary Scale of Intelligence, 4th UK Edition (WPPSI-IV UK) standardised assessment. I wanted to provide Tim with some age-appropriate tasks to see how he managed across a range of developmental areas. The variety of the subtests across areas, as well as the combination of visual, verbal and practical tasks provides a varied experience for young children. I like the fact that the WPPSI-IV UK also includes the expressive and receptive language subtests to provide insights into general language as well as the verbal comprehension subtests.


Following the observation, consultation and standardised assessment, I was able to provide the school with a summary of Tim’s strengths and difficulties across developmental areas and how these compared to his peers. From this, I was able to consider appropriate provision to support these needs. The breadth of the assessment also provided the evidence needed should support above that which is provided by the school becomes appropriate for Tim.

Case Study by Dr Melanie Adkins, Educational Psychologist

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